Many gamers may have heard of Operation Rainfall, a campaign to get three games for the Nintendo Wii – Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower – localized in North America. Xenoblade Chronicles was released in North America on April 6, 2012, and The Last Story was released about a month ago. I chatted a little with Operation Rainfall’s Ryan Tyner to find out more about the movement and where it would be headed next.
Stephanie: So how was Operation Rainfall originally started?
Ryan: On June 22nd, 2011 Operation Rainfall was formed. It started on an IGN message board but quickly moved to a petition as well as a campaign on Facebook and Twitter.
After E3 2010, it was becoming quite clear that Nintendo didn’t have plans to release the three games, Xenoblade, Pandora’s Tower, and The Last Story. Then, shortly after E3, the marketing manager of Nintendo France, stated that Nintendo of Europe wanted to show Xenoblade Chronicles at E3, but that “Nintendo of America wouldn’t let them because they didn’t want to show products they aren’t planning to sell.”
That really fueled the flames and the campaign quickly grew.
The goal of Operation Rainfall was to get the three titles of Xenoblade, The Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower localized in the Americas. We would do this by having the thousands of our campaign followers email, mail, post on Nintendo’s Facebook wall, send Nintendo of America tweets, and even call Nintendo of America, with the purpose of telling Nintendo of America they wanted the three games.
Stephanie: Were you surprised by how quickly Operation Rainfall grew?
Ryan: Well, I guess I was and I wasn’t.
It’s hard to really predict how the internet will respond to things such as a game campaign, and I wasn’t exactly sure how many people would be interested.
Yet, I knew that there had to be people out there that were just as upset about the idea that they would never get a chance to play these games, especially when they looked magnificent.
Stephanie: Agreed. A few weeks ago, there was a “final push” for Pandora’s Tower, do you expect that to succeed? And if not, will Operation Rainfall continue to campaign for it?
Ryan: Honestly, I don’t know. We have reached out to Nintendo and gotten the typical PR responses saying they will pass it along but they don’t really say anything. We have talked to publishers about Pandora’s Tower, trying to convince them that the game would sell, but none seem interested for a variety of reasons such as they are too busy or too small to take on any large projects.
Our “final push” was meant to be just that, a final attempt to make some noise about the game. The turnout for the event was quite small, maybe a couple of hundred people. Compare that to the thousands that participated when we did the events for Xenoblade before the game was announced. We have campaigned for these games for 15 months or so, and not only are the volunteers such as myself tired of doing so, but I think most people are ready to move on.
There are a few people of course that will never give up, and I think that’s great. You never know, Nintendo could always release a digital version on the Wii U. I think at this point it’s the most we can hope for.
Stephanie: That’s too bad, considering there’s already an English version out there. So what are some of Operation Rainfall’s plans for the future? Are there any other games it plans on campaigning for?
Ryan: It is unfortunate. You would think that it wouldn’t take much to bring the game here, but I guess Nintendo, the people who would know, have decided that it’s not worth it for whatever reason.
Operation Rainfall is moving away from being a campaign. But, we’re not leaving campaigning completely behind. We may be tired of campaigning after so long, but so many people come to us every week wanting our help with a new campaign they have created for a variety of gaming related issues.
So, what we are doing is creating what we are calling our “Campaign HUB”. It is basically a group of campaigns that are coming together and all posting in one place, the oprainfall website.
The campaigners post on our website in the special Campaign Hub area, and they can tell people about their campaigns, introducing themselves and their causes to our audience. We will promote their content to help them with exposure.
We’re just in the starting stage, but we’re hoping the Campaign HUB will be running in just a week or so.
So, while we may not be taking on more games ourselves as a campaign, we’re willing to help others who want to.
Stephanie: That’s great! And would operation rainfall itself become a more news-oriented and game-reviewing website, like Kotaku?
Ryan: Yeah, that’s pretty much what we are already doing on our website. We’re reporting on news, and also reviewing games. We have been talking with many publishers, asking for review copies, and most have been very friendly and accommodating.
I wouldn’t really say we are like anybody else out there; we’re really trying to from our own unique identity. But yeah, our focus will not be so much on “mainstream” games, but the more niche titles, in particular, niche Japanese titles. We’re hoping that the Campaign HUB will help give us that unique identity that we’re going for.
Stephanie: I see. Just curious, where does the name “Operation Rainfall” come from?
Ryan: The name “Operation Rainfall” formed on those IGN message boards right about the time people started to figure out they wanted to do something about getting those three games localized.
There are actually two ways you can interpret the name. Rainfall was chosen because we wanted Nintendo to release these quality titles in an upcoming period of a game release drought. At that time, there seemed to be very few upcoming Wii games that would interest those who started the campaign.
We also wanted to “rain down” on Nintendo with our many messages on Facebook, emails, and phone calls. We thought of ourselves as “rainfall”, in that it’s hard to ignore rain, especially when it is falling down hard.
Stephanie: Wow, I didn’t think that much thought went into making the name, that was really interesting! Thank you very much for your time.
So, though it looks like Operation Rainfall will no longer be campaigning for localization of more games in the States, it will still support other campaigns and provide them with the audience and exposure they need to be successful. I know Operation Rainfall has changed my view on things – if gamers work together, we can demand companies to release the games we want. The Last Story and Xenoblade Chronicles were originally never slated to have a North American release. But the gamers have spoken, and Nintendo has listened. And yet another long period of drought has been ended with the release of some quality titles.
Operation Rainfall’s website can be found here.